Ford's Theatre National Historic Site

In the heart of the District of Columbia is one of America’s most renowned theaters, famous for its connection to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. It was in this theater, on the night of April 14, 1865, that Abraham Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth. Chaos erupted in the playhouse, and Lincoln died the next day from the gun wound in a boarding house across the street.

Ford’s Theatre is still an active playhouse, and a downstairs museum explains the events of the assassination in 1865 and exhibits artifacts from that fateful night. The historic site draws about one million annual visitors a year. It has a powerful and haunting effect on visitors because of the memory of the national tragedy that occurred there.

—Caroline Griffith

If You Go

Ford's Theatre National Historic Site includes Ford's Theatre, which is located at 511 10th Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C., and the Peterson House situated across the street from the theater. Lincoln was taken to the Peterson House after he was shot and he died there the next day.

Check with the park before you go. Ford's Theatre and Museum have been closed for extensive renovations. According to the park service, the Theatre is due to open on February 12, 2009 with the museum due to open later in the spring of 2009.

While the Theatre and Museum are closed the Petersen House across the street remains open for visits from the public.

NPCA Recommends

There is no better way to feel the power of Ford’s Theatre than to see a live performance there. The annual December performance of “Christmas Carol” is highly recommended. Visit to learn more about upcoming performances. A special world premiere of "The Heaven's Are Hung in Black" is planned to mark the theater's reopening in February, 2009.








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